Do I Have A Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a unique kind of personal injury lawsuit made when someone is killed due to another party’s negligence (or sometimes intentional) act.
Wrongful death claims allow the estate of the deceased person to file a lawsuit against the party who is legally liable for the death. The suit is usually filed by a representative of the estate, on behalf of surviving family members and other affected parties.
In the recent Michael Jackson Los Angeles wrongful death case, the jury found the promoter not liable after a trial that lasted more than five months and made public many facts about Jackson. “I cried because, for once, the world was allowed to hear some of the facts at they pertain to this matter — a lot of facts that have been suppressed, much of which I was denied and my attorneys could not present during my criminal trial,” Dr. Conrad Murray said on the NBC Today show after he was convicted in Michael Jackson’s death.
When Can I File A Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim can be made when a victim who would otherwise have a personal injury claim is killed as a result of either negligence or an intentional harmful act on the part of someone else. This can occur in a variety of situations, including but not limited to:
When a victim is intentionally killed. For example, OJ Simpson was sued for wrongful death for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. The case was based on an intentional act.
When a victim dies as a result of medical malpractice. If a doctor failed to diagnose a condition, or if the doctor was careless in the level of care provided, and death resulted, then a wrongful death action can be brought against the doctor.
Car accident fatalities involving negligence. If a victim dies as a result of car accident injuries, a wrongful death claim may be brought.
These are just a few examples of personal injury cases that can turn into wrongful death claims. A wrongful death suit claim come from almost any personal injury situation, although notably exceptions exist for workplace injuries that result in death, which are handled mostly through the worker’s compensation system.
What Do I Have To Prove?
In order to hold someone liable in a wrongful death claim, the estate or representatives of the deceased must meet the same burden of proof that the victim would have had to meet had they lived.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is usually filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased victim, on behalf of survivors who had a relationship with the victim. Exactly who those survivors can be varies from state to state.
In New York State, a spouse may bring a wrongful death action on behalf of his or her deceased spouse. Parents of minors may also bring a wrongful death action if one of their children is killed, and minors can collect compensation for the death of one or both of their parents.
In some states, the life partner of the deceased may bring a wrongful death claim, as can anyone who can show financial dependence on the deceased.
What Kind Of Damages Can I Get?
Damages in a wrongful death claim can include:
- The deceased person’s pre-death pain and suffering – called a survival claim in a wrongful death case.
- The medical costs that the deceased victim incurred as a result of the injury prior to death
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of the deceased person’s expected income
- Loss of any inheritance as a result of the death
- Value of the services that the deceased would have provided
- Loss of care, guidance, and nurturing that the deceased would have provided
- Loss of love and companionship, and
- Loss of consortium.
There is more to wrongful death law and laws do vary from state to state. New York laws differ as to who may bring a wrongful death lawsuit and who may be sued. For important information about both of these questions, contact us if you believe you have a valid claim.
Do you believe your loved one died due to someone else’s negligence? If so, talk to an experienced wrongful death attorney.
If your loved one was killed due to someone else’s negligence and you are in need of a Wrongful Death Attorney, the Law Offices of Stuart M. Kerner, P.C., located in the Riverdale/Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, will investigate, prosecute and negotiate with the insurance company of the negligent party to settle your claim and obtain compensation for you based upon the severity of your injury and your pain and suffering. If you would like a legal opinion on the potential value of your matter or have a question about your rights, contact one of our lawyers at (718) 796-7900 or click here to schedule a FREE Consultation online so we can evaluate your wrongful death case.